The Student Services Finance Committee on Thursday approved raising the hourly wage of employees of organizations funded by the General Student Services Fund to $10.50, the first time it has been changed in nine years.
After debate among representatives and testimony from student employees, SSFC approved the wage increase, which will raise student segregated fees by $0.10 per student. The current standard hourly wage is $9.19.
“This is a great investment on our student body as a whole,” Vice Chair Thuy Pham said. “This serves about three percent of our student population. This is only a dime increase in segregated fees for every student yet we are helping so many.”
Rep. Ian Malmstadt asked if it was fair for students who do not have campus jobs to foot the bill for those who do, saying he would not fully support the increase because it will not be feasible.
Many students will not look favorably at the wage increase since it will increase segregated fees at the same time students are faced with an increase after the Rec Sports referendum passed last year, Rep. Dylan Fiedler said.
Rep. Andre Harper disagreed with those against the increase, saying the increase makes sense.
“This hourly wage increase makes so much sense to me,” he said. “I don’t believe the school community expects us to lead but we should do this for our student workers.”
The hourly wage increase would set a strong precedent for campus, said Charity Schmidt, a teaching assistant and graduate student studying sociology.
Schmidt said a wage increase will benefit student workers, as she said she has seen students struggle to work more and more, not eating well and not sleeping, which doesn’t give enough time to focus on studies.
“No one should work at this university and go to sleep hungry. This is UW-Madison,” she said. “Tell the university we value every worker on campus and services they provide us. It is our responsibility to raise each other up.”
A wage of $10.50 per hour is not enough, given the living wage in the city of Madison is $12.60 per hour, but it is a good start, she said.
SSFC members also approved the budget of Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics, made a slight increase to their budget for travel expenses and raised wages to $9.69.
On Tuesday, the group proposed a budget of $33,552.69, an increase of almost $4,800 from previous years.
They also heard an appeal from Sex Out Loud, but still cut $1,500 from the group’s budget request, giving it a budget of $98,498.
Correction: This post originally misspelled Charity Schmidt’s name in one instance. This post has been updated to reflect the change.